The Great Olympic Spirit

By on August 7, 2012

By Angela DiMaggio –

I was raised in an era that focused on teaching women how to cook, sew, and set a proper table. In 1950, a girls basic physical activities were jumping rope, playing Hop Scotch, and roller skating with metal skates that made a lot of noise….hard to imagine, but true. I was never exposed to playing sports or brought up to be athletic in any way, yet in 1968, I became an Olympic participant.

I saw a poster one day that said, “Want to go to the Olympics?” So, I wrote an essay, and after five interviews, I was selected as a cultural delegate to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. 100 students were chosen from the USA. In total, 50 countries that sent athletes, also sent cultural delegates.

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I know that having traveled and studied internationally (art, music and culture at the University of Madrid, 1966) and being tri lingual (Italian, Spanish and English) were advantages, but this committee was looking for specific individuals who would represent the Arts. At that time, I was a 19 yr. old BFA / Art Education major at the University of Milwaukee- WI.

We were flown to Washington DC for briefing, then joined the other countries in Mexico. This event had an amazing effect on me which virtually changed my life forever. The patriotism of representing and wearing a USA uniform, was beyond words. Overnight I was exposed to people and athletes from all over the world. I got my picture taken with Wilma Rudolph. I was there to see Carlos and Smith run…we students supported them when they got their metals. Most of all, I was exposed to what I call….. the Great Olympic spirit.

For an entire month, I witnessed first hand what hard work, motivation, perseverance, having faith in yourself, courage, determination, pin point focus, setting high personal goals, reaching for your dreams, and shear mental strength can really actually accomplish in your life.

As an Art Educator for 38 years, I constantly motivated my students (about 35,000 students) with that same learned Olympic spirit message. It was always at the center of my entire teaching career. Daily I strived to make them all feel like champions of the world. My pin point focus was to give them the self esteem they needed to become real gold metal winners in life. To this day, I am proud to say…that many of them got the 1968 message!

When I retired in 07, I looked into a mirror, and focused on those same qualities I had preached for years, and directed them towards myself. Instead of retiring, I took an idea I had for over 40 years, developed it, worked 18 to 20 hour days for four years, and recently became a new American Inventor at 63. Basically, I employed all of the same above attributes that I was exposed to 44 years ago.

The Olympic Spirit message is sheer magic at any age.

About Angela DiMaggio

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The Great Olympic Spirit